Learning how to feel happier can help you radiate positivity and joy. Not only will good vibes make it easier to invite a little bit more luck into your life, but they’ll help power you through as you work hard to make your dreams come true while creating a life you love to live. But what makes people feel happy, exactly? According to a new study, it isn’t money or even experiences — it’s simply time.
The new research, which counted 6,200 people across America, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands as participants, also included a large number of Dutch millionaires. Since the study wasn’t income-based, research results suggest that people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and lifestyle practices can increase their happiness by spending money on services that save them time. Amazing!
For the study, researchers asked participants how much money they spent on time-saving services and how they felt. They also gave $40 to each of 60 people in Vancouver and asked each person to spend the money on a material purchase during the first weekend and a time-saving service on the next. The result? People felt happier after spending money that saved them time. Even more, findings show that people who *don’t* spend money on services that save them time suffer from lower life satisfaction and increased stress. People who *do* spend on time-saving services, on the other hand, are less stressed and more satisfied overall. It might sound a little crazy at first, but when you stop to consider how much easier (and more pleasant) it is to get your groceries delivered, hop in a Lyft rather than deal with finding parking, or have your dry cleaning done, you may realize how much tackling the tasks you hate (or the ones you don’t really have time for) can dampen your mood.
Despite the very real benefit of saving time, the survey found that many people still nix spending their cash on services that’ll simplify their lives. Professor Elizabeth Dunn, one of the researchers, noted, “Although buying time can serve as a buffer against the time pressures of daily life, few people are doing it even when they can afford it.” Though the team couldn’t speak exactly to the reason why so few people are willing to spend money to avoid the tasks they hate or cause them stress, Harvard professor Ashley Whillans told The Independent that it could be to avoid giving the impression they’re slacking off. “People who hire a house cleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy,” she said. Kind of like how you might suffer some serious guilt pangs over ordering from Postmates or Instacart so you can crank on a late-night assignment (or fully relax and recharge on a mental health day).
The takeaway? While finally getting that well-deserved raise will feel amazing, how you use your extra cash will make *all* the difference when it comes to your happiness. Creating free time might cost you, but it’s totally worth it.
Do you use time-saving services? Tell us on Twitter which ones you couldn’t live without @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)